tips to becoming a delicious disaster in the kitchen

According to my husband, if I were to write a cook book it should be titled “Deliciously Messy” because I leave a tornado in my wake after any and all cooking tasks.  Even toast.  {Seriously, where do all those crumbs come from?}  This always makes me think about the finished product and what is really important in the kitchen:  A delicious treat and dishes piled high or a meticulously clean kitchen and a ruined recipe?  Obviously I decided on the former and truly feel my lack of tidiness helps turn out better tasting food because I am solely concentrating on baking.  Hence the inspiration for my Top Ten Tips for Beginning Bakers.

{Disclaimer: I am obviously not a professional chef or baker.  I just love baking and have learned the knowledge below through years of trial and error, several ruined dishes, broken plates, and many, many delicious disasters.}

10. Give yourself plenty of time to try a new recipe.  Do not attempt something new right before a party or if you only have the exact amount of time the instructions claim the recipe should take.  {I am looking at you, Martha Stewart.}

9.  Practice the basics.  Before I moved on to more complicated treats I mastered a simple recipe: Lemon Bars.

{Image via Smitten Kitchen}

8.  Mind your ingredients.  Not a chemistry genius?  No problem, neither am I, just realize baking soda and baking powder are required for specific recipes for a reason.  {Read this post to find out why.}

7.  Fancy tools do not make the cook/baker.  Do not feel like you need a kitchen stocked by Williams-Sonoma gadgets to make tasty treats.  Sometimes those fancy tools cause more trouble than they are worth because then they have to be cleaned.  And who wants extra cleaning?

6.  Number seven being said, I do think having at least one super awesome amazing knife will make your life easier.  {Thank you, Aunt Beth, for changing the way I chop.  I will never, ever go back!}

5.  Use the best ingredients you can afford.  I noticed a significant improvement in my finished products when I started buying better {and fresh} flour and sugar.  A good vanilla extract can be spendy but the results are completely worth it.  

4.  Read before you start!  It sounds simple.  It is simple.  Read the directions before you start and have all the ingredients out of the cupboard.  {This sounds like the beginning of a therapy session with a cognitively challenged patient, doesn’t it?}  I have ruined a few goodies in my day by having to run out for eggs midway through.  Sad face.

3.  If the thought of cleaning throughout cooking stresses you out {like it does to me, I grow nervous just thinking about it}, especially in a time-sensitive recipe such as torrone semifreddo, let the mess pile high and clean up at the end.  It is not the end of the world.  People will keep their lives.

2.  Incorporate family traditions and heritage.  Like I mentioned here, my grandmother inspired my affinity for baking and creating her recipes has made this more meaningful.  I bet you can’t wait until the holiday season when I post on how to make this Czechoslovakian dough!

1.  Cook what you love to eat!  You’ll be more inspired to improve and motivated to finish if a recipe grows ornery halfway.  Then, once you feel more comfortable in the kitchen, it is easier to experiment and come up with delicious new concoctions {such as coffee flavored chocolate dipped pretzels}.

Does anyone have any other tips for turning into a successful {albeit recreational} baker?



  1. All so true! thanks for the tips. I also have to remind myself to be patient and not take any shortcuts 🙂

  2. winterstar06 says:

    Love that super great baking sheet!
    Also, as my delicious, easy, healthy chicken pot pie is currently baking in the oven I sat down to read my favorite blog and Phil commented on the tornado I left in the kitchen. I didn’t know it was possible to cook/bake any other way!

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